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5 from Gwinnett on list for Superior Court judge

ATLANTA - Well, they've made the final five.

Gov. Sonny Perdue's Judicial Nominating Commission handpicked five Gwinnett residents this week as finalists to fill a new Gwinnett Superior Court judge seat next year.

Released Thursday, the shortlist includes current judges and lawyers practicing from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta.

The five finalists include:

' Emily J. Brantley - A private practice attorney with The Law Office of Emily J. Brantley in Lawrenceville.

' Warren P. Davis - Magistrate Judge in Gwinnett County.

' George F. Hutchinson III - Magistrate Judge in Gwinnett County.

' Albert L. Norton Jr. - A private practice attorney with Norton and Associates in Alpharetta.

' Kathryn M. Schrader - A private practice attorney with Kathryn M. Schrader in Duluth.

"Obviously, I'm very flattered, very honored to be considered," Hutchinson said. "Particularly considering all the highly qualified people who were under consideration."

The five finalists were recommended by the commission to Perdue. Each finalist will be interviewed by the governor, who will then appoint one candidate as Gwinnett's 10th Superior Court judge.

The chosen person will take office in January.

The Gwinnett vacancy was created by the passage of House Bill 118, after the Judicial Council of Georgia voted Gwinnett County as having the state's highest need for an additional judge. Officials estimated last year the county qualified for 12.3 judges to handle the 2005 case load.

Superior Court has jurisdiction over criminal felonies, domestic and civil cases.

"I'm extremely happy to be on the shortlist," said Brantley. "I'm very appreciative for the confidence (the committee) has in me. I'm looking forward to speaking with the governor."

The other three finalists did not return calls for comment before deadline Thursday.

The nominating commission also announced recommendations Thursday to fill judge vacancies in Cordele, Enotah, Macon County and Athens-Clarke County courts.